Drone Racing League (DRL) Launches New DRL Simulator with Real-World Physics for Accurate Drone Flight

New sim updates include a complete physics overhaul to give pilots a customizable, real-world FPV (First Person View) flying experience

New York, NY – March 18, 2019 — The Drone Racing League (DRL), the global, professional drone racing circuit, today launched the new DRL Simulator, the only drone racing sim that translates flying online into better flying in the real world. Available on Steam for $19.99, the revamped sim offers real-world drone physics, providing pilots with a 100% accurate FPV (First Person View) experience — made possible by dozens of physics models, science and data. DRL collaborated on the sim updates with Professor Marilyn J. Smith and her team at the Georgia Institute of Technology to offer a hyper-realistic drone flying experience online. Together, they integrated true-to-life drone physics, incorporated advanced aerodynamics modeling capabilities, and tested the virtual drone experience to ensure it perfectly mirrored true flying scenarios.

“We’re thrilled to have launched the new DRL Simulator, the only sim that uses real-world drone physics and captures what FPV flight is truly like in real life. As the ultimate platform for dedicated pilots, the DRL SIM will continue to recruit pilots into the league through our esports tournament, the Swatch DRL Tryouts, and train FPV drone operators who fly for companies in various spaces like cinematography, agriculture, and disaster relief,” said DRL CEO and Founder, Nicholas Horbaczewski.

“The goal is to enable players to learn how to fly the drones online before racing them in real life,” said Smith, director of the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence at Georgia Tech’s Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering. “We will watch with interest how our unsteady aerodynamics tools perform in the DRL Simulator, paying particularly close attention to how they provide dynamic aerodynamics modeling capabilities.

The DRL Simulator provides players with a fully customizable drone racing experience to achieve a flight that’s right for them. Specific new elements include:

Real-World Drone Physics

  • Advanced Drag Models: The DRL SIM licenses advanced aerodynamics modeling technology from Dr. Marilyn Smith.DRL is the first private company to license this code for use in drone aerodynamics, which enables sim players to experience accurate drag data 1,000 times per second, ensuring their SIM flight matches a real world flight based on your course.
  • Advanced Forward Ratio & True Speed: The DRL SIM leverages Aeronautical Engineer, Sage Thayer’s software simulations to determine accurate top speed, based on players’ selected drone’s weight, motor and prop size. Users can select from over 45 drone frames to fly and thousands of bench tested components with real data curves to customize the simulation of air flow through the props and against the drone body, knowing they’ll fly the digital drone at the top speed that it can actually go in real life.  
  • So much more: COG (Center of Gravity), Ground Effect, Yaw Effect, Battery Dynamics — The DRL SIM now includes additional forces that impact drone flying in real life, such as gravity and turbulent air, that is felt when the drone is hovering at lower altitudes and low speeds. DRL incorporated sensor data from hundreds of test flights to ensure that basic drone response mechanisms, like yaw effect, will still exist in the DRL SIM.

Complete Customization Through Drone Designer:

To develop a seamless link between the digital and the real, the DRL SIM engineers conducted more than 5,000 bench tests for each possible combination of motors, batteries and props and licensed data on true weight and motor specs from leading companies like Emax, Tmotor and Hypetrain. The result: Players can create more than 2,000 power combinations and more than 120 million drone combinations by choosing from thousands of parts from real manufacturers. To design a drone that’s right for them, users can customize everything from the drone’s size, thrust, weight, and top speed to its skin, prop colors, and flags. Through the sim’s Community Tunes channel, players can also show off their swagged out drones for the world to see and rate.

Ultimate Race Course Map Maker:

The Map Maker features more component and design options than any other sim in the world. Players can choose from up to 15 unique environments and pull in more than 140 different objects (like gates and obstacles) to design an ultimate three-dimensional race course. Plus, users can share their supercharged maps with their friends and race with others on countless custom tracks to test their skills.

Aspiring pilots can download the DRL Simulator on Steam for $19.99.


The Drone Racing League (DRL) is the global, professional drone racing circuit for elite FPV (First Person View) pilots. A technology, sports and media company, DRL combines world-class media and proprietary technology to create thrilling 3D drone racing content with mass appeal. The 2019 DRL Allianz World Championship will stream on Twitter and air worldwide on top sports broadcast networks including NBC Sports, Sky Sports, ProSieben, Groupe AB, FOX Sports Asia, OSN. The league recently launched the Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing (AIRR) Circuit, the premier autonomous drone racing series. Founded by Nicholas Horbaczewski in 2015, DRL is a privately held company headquartered in NYC. For more information on DRL, visit www.drl.io and follow DRL on Twitter @DroneRaceLeague, and Facebook and Instagram at @TheDroneRacingLeague.